Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII – Review
Follow Genre: RPG
Developer: Square Enix
Publisher: Square Enix
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360

Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII – Review

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Good: Great story, graphics and music
Bad: Too much spoilers :(
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(2 votes)
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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)

What would you do when God gives you a divine mission to save the souls of the people in a doomed world? Lightning gets this role in the last part of the Final Fantasy XIII sequel. Let’s jump into the darkness of Chaos and help her on her quest.

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Lightning’s return happens 500 years after the ending of Final Fantasy XIII-2. Our good old guardian of Etro was devastated after the recent events and fell into a long slumber. After 5 centuries, she gets a weird dream. Lightning is surrounded by the brightest light and she soon realises it is the mighty God Bhunivelze that’s talking to her.  The world is consumed by Chaos and there is no more hope left for Nova Chrysalia. He appoints Lightning as ‘Savior’ and she gets the task of gathering as much souls before time runs out. This means you only get a certain amount of time before the world will be destroyed and a new one will rise from the ashes. The souls you collect get a place in this new haven and are saved.

This might sound a bit harsh and it gives you the feeling you’re the new Grim Reaper, killing people on the way. This is far from true, instead you need to help people and solve their problems. As you venture Nova Chrysalia, you’ll notice that not everyone is thrilled with the Savior’s arrival (although you’re incognito – most of the time). Even more, you’ll get to see some familiar faces, though this isn’t always something to look forward to.

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The graphics in Lightning Returns are a bit more gloomy than the previous titles, though they’re well done. The environment is superb and the characters are very detailed. The different cities are totally different, meaning there is always something new to discover. You’ll also never get the feeling the background is repetitive. This might be the case after you’ve fought your hundredth Niblet, though it will get more fun to smite them down.


The music, sound effects and voiceovers are amazing. Final Fantasy is well-known for its magical, magnificent music and Lightning Returns reach those standards. The music during fights switch now and then, giving a cool effect. You won’t get bored by it easily.

The sound effects are nicely done, you can hear enemies burn and crisp to hell with fire or you can hear the clouds rumble when casting thunder. The voiceovers are mostly in sync with the visual representation. You can see that Square Enix put a lot of effort into both graphics and sound.

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Lightning Returns has a similar battle system like Final Fantasy XIII and XIII-2. You can move around and engage monsters into a fight. You can try and get a pre-emptive strike by hitting the monster before it gets the chance to hit you, which gives you a big advantage. Lightning is facing enemies alone now and she gets the chance to do something every girl would like: change clothing whenever you want.

The game doesn’t use the Paradigms anymore but changed to schemata. These are sets of clothing with their own particular effects, these are very important and are the key to conquer your enemies. Each schemata consists of a garb, weapon and shield. You can leave the sets like they are or you can go wild and combine several clothes. Some pieces might have a special abilities and it is a good idea to check this before combining. Next to the schemata, you can also wear 2 accessories to spice things up a bit.

Something else spiffy is the possibility to alter the colours of the schemata. Don’t feel like running in the garb like that? Well, just change it to the colour you want! You can choose which schemata is your standard one and this is the one you’ll wear in-game as well. Yay for the fashionlovers!

Now we have our clothes in order, we can tell you more about the time-aspect of the game. You only have a limited amount of time available in Lightning Returns. There are only 7 days left before the old world will end and a new one will be born. Your mission is to save as many souls as possible by helping them. You might think ‘How am I going to do that in only 7 days?’, but there are some aspects that help you.

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You can play 24 hours a day and even better, you can stop time by using the ability Chronostasis. This ability consumes one Energy Point (EP). You only have a certain amount of EP, so think wisely when using one. EP can be recovered by killing enemies. There are other abilities that use EP as well, but one I definitely want to mention is the ‘Escape’ ability. You can run from battles for free (so no EP is used), but you will lose Eradia if you play the game on normal. On easy, you won’t lose any. You’re probably wondering what Eradia is, so read on to find out.

Bhunivelze gives you the chance of earning more time by helping people. If you save a soul, you get some rewards and some Eradia in return. This will help the tree or flower Yggdrasil grow and thus giving you more time to help more people. Helping people will give you more time to help others. Next to that, it’s also important that you do sidequests to get stronger. Lightning Returns doesn’t use the typical levelling system, but you get some ‘upgrades’ when you help civilians.


This third game from the Final Fantasy XIII-line is something different than what we’re used to, but it’s not a bad thing. The graphics and music are superb and take the game to the next level. The story gives you the chance to save the souls. Although the game contains spoilers, it is still something worthwhile playing, even though it’s on the older consoles ;).

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Rating: 8.5/10 (2 votes cast)
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Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII - Review, 8.5 out of 10 based on 2 ratings

Faster than lightning

1 Comment

  1. | Lightning will rock your PC
    November 26, 2015, 11:03

    […] If you want to find out if this game is something for you, you can always read our review. […]

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